The ABC’s to successfully managing workplace stress
Action:Take action to minimize stress at work.
Balance:Have a good balance between your work and personal life.
Calm: Remain calm when problems arise.
Diary:Always write down important appointment and reminders.
Energy:Place your energy on the most important task first.
Focus: Focus on one work task at a time.
Goals: Set goals to achieve maximum results at work.
Health: Never let workplace stress affect your health.
Invest: Invest time and patience in managing your stress.
Just today: Live in the present. Burn the past. Don’t worry about the future.
Knowledge: Know what is causing you stress.
Laughter: Laugh out loud and enjoy your day at work.
Manage: Manage stress at work through expert knowledge and action.
Nutrition: A healthy eating plan helps to minimize work related stress.
Organize: Organize your day to minimize problems at work.
Passion: Always follow the career that you love.
Quiet: Better solutions arise when your mind is quiet.
Recreation: Find recreation you can enjoy outside work.
Solution: Always plan solutions to problems.
Time planning: Plan effectively to complete important tasks.
Understand: Understand problems at work will always arise, so be prepared.
Visualize: Always visualize positive outcomes happening at your work.
Work: Work hard and you won’t have time to worry about stress.
You: Take care of you. You are more valuable than any task at work.
Zzzzzz: Get plenty of sleep to produce excellent results at work.
Why is it important to manage workplace stress effectively?
Some of us simply neglect to manage stress in your workplace and tolerate the problems that are causing us stress. We simply feel that stress is part of our everyday life.
When you start to overcome the problems that are causing you stress you will gain some fantastic benefits. These benefits include:
Better quality health: This is by far the most important benefit to handling stress. If you gain this benefit alone, you are on your way to a life free from major health problems, especially as you get older and want to enjoy your “golden years” such as taking holidays and spending more time with your loved ones.
Your health is an important asset and is one of the most important investments for a better quality life.
Prepared for the unexpected: The workplace can be unpredictable at times with work delays, arguments with your boss and co-workers and annoying customers. This list can go on and on. When you know what is causing you stress and are prepared for the unexpected, you will anticipate a solution to the problem.
Happier at work: When you are prepared for the unexpected and know what the worst case scenario is for situations in your workplace, you will become more relaxed and happier. When you are happier at your work, you will become more productive and become more sociable with your co-workers. Also when you are happier at work, you will become more proactive with taking on more work activities.
With a happier work life, your personal life will also start to improve, because you will stop stressing about work problems.
6 Steps to Manage Stress at Work
1. Plan Your Work
In order to cope with workplace stress, you simply need to plan your work day. I am very surprised that some people do not plan their work day and allow circumstances to dictate their work situation.
Some of us tend to place more effort into planning what we want to eat for lunch, the things we want to do on the weekend and the quickest way to get home to avoid peak hour traffic, rather than plan the tasks we want to achieve at work. It is no wonder why alot of us suffer from stress.
By not planning your work day, you’re simply allowing things to go wrong such as major delays and errors with a work project, missing important appointments or meetings and not completing your work tasks by their deadline. This will be followed by arguments with your boss and co-workers, dealing with angry customers, lost revenue, an unsettled work environment and you feeling upset and extremely stressed.
There will be times when things will be out of your control and you will be suddenly thrown off your feet with a major work delay or problem. As you know, the workplace will never be the perfect place. However, like an army general, it is best to be prepared with some form of game plan than not having a game plan at all.
The great thing about planning your work day is that it only takes a few minutes of your time. The results that you will achieve from your work plan and the reduction in job stress you will experience will be simply amazing.
Here are valuable tips for planning your work day:
- Create a daily “to do” list. This list involves the tasks you want to achieve and complete on a given day. With this list, priorities the most important tasks to the least important, factoring in time delays and room for error. The great thing about the “to do” list is that they’re easy to prepare and it gives you a sense of accomplishment, once you start crossing items off your list as you complete them. The best time to prepare your “to do” list is at the end of the working day, so you are well prepared for the next day. This will help you to start work fresh each day, knowing precisely what you want to accomplish.
- Set smart goals and objectives. Set goals and objectives that are realistic and can be completed in a timely manner.
- Always carry a diary. To keep on track with your work tasks, always write appointments and deadlines in your diary. There is no excuse for you to not have a diary. Diaries come in all shapes and sizes and are very cheap to buy. Some workplaces even supply diaries to their workers at no charge. Sometimes we get caught up with several work tasks and a diary reminds us of the tasks we need to focus on.
Coping with stress is about being in control of your work situation and not allowing it to control you.
2. Always look on the bright side of life
Just the other day, I watched the Monty Python comedy “Life of Brian” which was loosely based on the life of Jesus Christ. At the end of the movie, Brian was left on the cross to die with the rest of society’s criminals and rejects. While Brian was dieing on the cross, a reject started to sing the song “Always look on the bright side of life”. This song changed the dark and depressing mood that Brian and the rejects were experiencing, to a mood of fun and happiness.
This movie reminded me that whenever you’re experiencing a stressful problem at work always look on the bright side of that situation. I’m not saying that you should feel happy whenever you made a major mistake at work. What I am saying is to see the stressful problem as a minor thing which can be conquered with a positive and pro-active approach.
Whenever you’re experiencing stressful problems at work, look on the bright side and remember:
- There is always a solution to a problem.
- You have a choice to control the outcome of your situation.
In the book “How To Get Rich” author and billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump mentioned how he owed $9.2 billion to 99 banks, after the real estate market had crashed in the late eighties.
Trump’s advisors were telling him to file for bankruptcy. However Trump looked on the bright side and knew he could overcome this problem.
Several years later Trump managed to recover himself out of that awful situation to become a billionaire again. Today Trump is even wealthier than what he was before that crippling situation.
Sure we won’t owe billions, let alone millions, however Trump’s situation teaches us that whenever we experience a stressful problem, remember to look on the bright side and know that you can control the outcome to your situation.
3. Positive people can help you conquer stress at work
The things that happen in the workplace can be unpredictable and very overwhelming at times. It can range from a major argument with the boss, loosing a client, machinery and equipment breaking down, delays with an important project, poor relationships with co-workers, lost revenue, working long and excessive hours, feeling unappreciated by your employer, working in a disorganised work environment and a major blow like loosing your job. With so many things that can cause stress during the workday, it is no wonder why most of us have problems dealing with it.
According to my personal experiences, the best way to deal with situations that causes you stress is to discuss your problems with someone. By discussing those problems that causes you the most stress at work, you can come up with solutions to the problem and feel better about yourself and the situation.
I find the best people to discuss your problems to are:
- Your wife/partner.
- Your boss.
- A trusting co-worker/business associate.
- Your mentor.
- Business advisors.
- A friend.
- Your parents/relatives.
- A professional.
A few years ago, while working at a newspaper company, I had a co-worker who kept bothering me because she simply didn’t like me. This went on for months and unfortunately I didn’t do anything about it. Luckily a new employee named Amber started work in my department and we hit it off immediately. I found Amber a great person to discuss my problems with and she always cheered me up during a stressful situation. She also gave me advice on how to stand up to my troublemaking co-worker. I also provided Amber with support when she needed it as well.
During my work career, I’ve always had people that provided me with advice and support. Currently as a business owner, I have a business mentor, business associates and friends that I discuss my problems with.
And just because you constantly seek support and advice, doesn’t make you a weak and dependant person. As a matter of fact, powerful and successful people like Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Arnold Schwarzenegger have advisers and confidants to discuss their problems with.
When selecting someone to discuss your problems with, make sure:
- They have great listening and communication skills.
- Can offer you great support.
- Can offer you sound solutions and constructive criticisms.
- Keep discussions confidential and are trustworthy.
Most of us cannot go through tough and stressful situations on our own and we need positive people that can help and support us during these times.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
In the workplace, we all seem to get swamped by several different tasks and requests all at the same time. We have the boss screaming for those reports to be submitted to him by midday, several clients wanting their jobs to be completed immediately and your co-workers hounding and nagging you for no apparent reason. Plus you are catching up on your workload from the day before and you are constantly getting delayed by work problems.
With so many things to focus on all at the same time, it is no wonder that we become so overwhelmed and experience constant work stress. I can see why some co-workers often crave that cigarette or loose their temper in the workplace.
I recall a few years ago, when I went to a stress management seminar held by psychologist Dr. Jason Han. At the time, stress was definitely my worst enemy. I recall Dr. Han giving me a piece of valuable advice which I use to this very day. He told me the secret to coping with stress is to concentrate on one thing at a time.
When I first heard this piece of stress management advice, I thought it was a load of useless garbage. However when I applied his advice to my work, I noticed that his advice was sensible and I was getting alot more achieved.
In reality, you can only focus and place effort on one task at a time. It is better to have one task fully completed than have several uncompleted tasks. When you focus on several things at the same time, you simply don’t get alot achieved and you are creating hardly any room for error. Also your concentration becomes more scattered when you focus on too many things at once.
The key to focusing on one task at a time is to focus and complete the most important and dreaded task first. While focusing on a task, do not allow your mind to become preoccupied with other tasks. With your main task, set a realistic timeframe you want to spend on it, factoring in the deadline for that task and enough time to complete your other tasks as well.
If your task is very time consuming, break your task into smaller bite size chunks and simply focus on one component at a time.
5. Follow your passion to conquer stress at work
Commonly we thinking stress is about putting up with disgruntled co-workers and annoying bosses, getting caught with work delays and tight deadlines and working long and excessive hours that keep you away from loved ones. However one main cause of stress that people overlook is workplace boredom.
The symptoms of workplace boredom include:
- Lack of diverse and challenging tasks.
- Lack of career growth and opportunities.
- Lack of pay increases and incentives.
- Doing the same mundane work each day.
- Working in an uninspired work environment.
- Working with uninspired co-workers.
- Lack of appreciation from your employer.
I experienced workplace boredom about seven years ago while working as a graphic designer for a magazine publishing company. I simply hated my job and had problems getting out of bed each morning. I could feel the pains in my stomach while driving to work each day. I recall how frustrated and stressed out I would feel and keep muttering to myself with my teeth clenched tightly “I hate this damn job.”
I even had moments where I wanted to tell my boss what he could shove my job. Fortunately for my boss, I didn’t follow through on that plan and I decided to quit my job and follow a career path that I was passionate about. This was the best decision I made because my stress levels were reduced and I was following a career path that I would enjoy.
If you hate your job with a passion, I suggest you start making plans for a new career path or another job right now. I’m not suggesting that you chuck in your job this instant and queue up in the unemployment line. That would be silly and would create unnecessary stress for you both financially and personally.
Right now, I want you to think about your ideal job and make plans on how you will obtain it. Your ideal job may require you to get additional training such as attending night school. Also think about the people that can help you obtain your desired career.
There are so many people in this world today that are stressed out and hate their work. However, they don’t do a single thing about it. They simply complain and make excuses like “I am too busy” or “I don’t have the time to look for a new job”.
Don’t be like the rest of the population and make lame excuses for yourself. Life is too short for that. By simply following your ideal job or career path, you will minimize stress and increase enjoyment and satisfaction in your work life.